boxing vs muay thai

Boxing vs Muay Thai - Which Style is Better?

So, when it comes to boxing vs Muay Thai, which one of these heavy-hitters actually comes out on top?

To get to that answer, we'll address a number of factors such as the styles seen in the two arts and how effective they are overall.

Boxing and Muay Thai have been compared to one another for years. There is no denying that they have some similarities from the equipment used to the fact that many Muay Thai fighters incorporate boxing techniques into their routine.

In spite of any initial similarities, however, the pair remains two very different sports.

Boxing & Muay Thai – How They Stand Out

As previously stated, there are some similar traits you can find in both Muay Thai and boxing. Much of this is seen in their striking techniques considering that it is common for Muay Thai fighters to undergo some boxing training. Even so, once you watch the two sports, their differences stand out.

Boxing introduction

Boxing is a true classic that has held its own throughout history for centuries.

Pinning down exactly when it began is tough as you can find depictions of it all the way back in Ancient Greece. Boxing, Western in particular, has only continued to grow its popularity. Many enjoy it for the fact that it is both simple and intricate at the same time.

When it comes to combat, to put it simply, boxing is a pure striking sport. When you attack an opponent, you can only do so with your fists.

However, there are countless of combinations you can see in boxing, and as they can hit several places above the waist, knocking out an opponent can come easy if you have the right techniques.

Another way boxing can stand out and truly sign is in the footwork and stance.

In the ring, you can immediately discern a boxer through his stance. You want to provide as small a target as you can for your opponent. Because of this, you appear to be narrower when compared to other fighting arts. Beyond not making it easy for an opponent to land a hit, a proper stance will grant you the right amount of balance, mobility, and power. You need to be able to switch back and forth from offense to defense quickly.

Speaking of defense, boxers rely on an incredible level of defensive techniques in order to turn a match in their favor.

Take a look at the video below to get a better idea of it:

boxing vs muay thai

When you look past the knockouts that so many highlight, you will notice how effortlessly a boxer can use various defensive skills such as slipping, parrying, and such to own a match.

Muay Thai Introduction

Muay Thai, otherwise known as Thai boxing, is another art that has been around for centuries.

Its roots can be traced to the 18th century, and it initially began as a means for practical hand-to-hand combat in warfare.

Soon, it turned into entertainment, and the reputation it built saw it catapulted into fame as a national sport.

So, what exactly makes Muay Thai stand out amongst other fighting arts?

There are several techniques beyond just striking you can see a Muay Thai fighter perform in the ring that will excite anyone. These fighters make remarkable use of their entire bodies. It is to the point that they have particular kinds of gloves and punching bags to use to get the most out of their training and fighting.

Muay Thai fighters can be seen throwing elbow strikes, knees, backhanded hits, and kicks in addition to the standard punches.

What stands out even more in this fighting art is that you can further expand these techniques. In Muay Thai, you can see flying knees, roundhouse kicks, and an incredible use of strikes while in a clinch. It is why these fighters use such an extreme amount of conditioning to ensure that their bodies can take and dish out this amount of punishment.

Take a look below to see just how versatile this combat sport can be:

boxing vs muay thai

Anyone who participates or just studies up on Muay Thai knows that this combat sport has been long-dubbed "the art of eight limbs", and it has that nickname for a reason. You will not make it far here if you cannot effectively utilize your entire body.

A Comparison

When you break down both boxing and Muay Thai, you can see the slight similarities. At a first glance, they look the same.

Both use similar equipment such as boxing gloves, and they both use many of the same training techniques. The two combat sports also fight in similar rings and they require either more points than their opponent or a knockout to win a match.

However, closer inspection also allows for their differences to become all the more evident. For example, take a look at their stances.

A Muay Thai fighter has a longer, straighter stance when compared to a boxer's smaller appearance. This is due mainly to the fact that in Muay Thai, you need to be ready for lower body strikes rather than a boxer just trying to protect their core and face. Muay Thai fighters have to be able to adapt to a number of techniques.

Another glaring difference is that boxers have made defensive techniques an art form in their own right. While traditional Muay Thai fighters defend themselves as in any fighting art, they are more prone to blocking attacks rather than slipping past them the way a boxer does.

One of the clearer differences though is the hits that are allowed.

We touched on how Muay Thai makes use of a fighter's entire body while boxing is just various punches. It does go deeper than that though.

You are allowed to hold an opponent in both Muay Thai and boxing, but boxers will get split up and even face consequences if the hold continues too long. However, clinching is common in Muay Thai.

boxing vs muay thai

Boxing vs Muay Thai – Is One Better Than the Other?

Discovering which combat sport is actually better than the other is more of a personal preference than anything.

A straight striker may enjoy boxing more while someone who is looking for more variety in attacks will lean more toward Muay Thai.

At the end though, both have their advantages and disadvantages that make deciding between them difficult.

Let's do a quick run through of them:

boxing vs muay thai



  • Can thrive on both offense and defense. 

    Boxers have a number of combinations in their arsenal that can take an opponent out in seconds. There is a reason why many Muay Thai fighters consider adding boxing training into their standard routine.


  • There is a limitation as to how they can fight. 

    There are a number of illegal moves you have to watch out for while boxing.

    For instance, you cannot do any lower body strikes as those will count against you and can even cause you to lose the fight. Also, as previously stated, you cannot hold for too long. Though they have a diverse set of combinations, boxers still appear to be put in a box concerning how they can place their shots.

Muay Thai


  • You have a vast amount of techniques in your arsenal. 

    One of the best benefits of Muay Thai is that you can use all of your limbs to take someone down. You can go for flying knees, backhanded strikes to the head, a well-placed roundhouse kick to the head, and plenty more.

    Find yourself in a clinch? You can dish out even more damage to the upper and lower body. A great clinch fighter can even nail that dreaded liver shot and end the match.


  • Not a lot of attention placed on knockout power. 

    Although these fighters have a high variety of moves, there tends to be a lot more attention placed on diversifying your arsenal rather than pure knockout power as is seen in boxing.

    A well-placed shot can end a Muay Thai fight quick, there's no doubt about that, but boxing training ensures that you deliver a great amount of power compared to Muay Thai.

So, with that said, we are back at our original boxing vs Muay Thai question: which one is better?

An unbiased answer would be simple: neither.

The two combat arts have their ups and downs like anything else, but their benefits outweigh anything that can be taken as a negative.

Truthfully, only you can decide which fighting art will work best for your needs and your strengths. In the end, both boxing and Muay Thai have stood the test of time for a reason. They excel in their fields, keeping the attention of many people of all ages worldwide.


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